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Record number of graduates honored at spring commencement

RIVERSIDE (May 3, 2014)— Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of California Baptist University, congratulated 1,335 graduating students during afternoon and evening commencement ceremonies at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Afternoon exercises included 683 traditional undergraduate degree candidates, while the evening ceremony honored 649 students, including all master’s degree candidates, as well as undergraduates from Online and Professional Studies programs. 

“Each of these graduating students has arrived at this point because of a shared commitment to the challenging yet rewarding endeavor of higher education,” Ellis said. “Each one has overcome obstacles to achieve this goal.”

Dr. E. Bruce Heilman, chancellor of The University of Richmond, challenged students with an address he titled You may not know where you are going until you get there so don’t be surprised if you end up some place else.

“We, of my era, lived under circumstances which made truth out of this descriptive title,” he said.

Heilman, whose great uncle was one of California Baptist College’s founders, earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University in the fields of business and education administration and served in various positions at Kentucky Wesleyan College, Georgetown College and Peabody College. He became chancellor at the University of Richmond in 1988, after serving as president and chief executive officer for 17 years. At 88, he said he still rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and considers age to be only a place on the calendar.

“Keep on learning so that you will be prepared to accept what God-given opportunity may come your way,” he said. “Above all, do something of which you will be proud and which serves mankind. And don’t quit living to the fullest at whatever age you find yourselves. Life isn’t over until it’s over. Keep your bucket list long and full.”

Ellis conferred upon Heilman an honorary degree of doctor of arts and humane letters in recognition of his contributions and achievements.

Awards for student achievement were presented at both ceremonies. Stephany Durksen, a liberal studies major from Canada, received the Min Sung Kim International Student Award, and Kari Carlson, an accounting major from Evergreen, Colo. received CBU’s Outstanding Senior Award. Karen Joy, financial administrator for Loveland Church, which has multiple locations in California, was honored with the Outstanding Online and Professional Studies Student Award.

Combined with the 327 students who graduated last December, the Class of 2014 included 1,662 degree applications, the largest number of candidates for graduation for a single year in CBU’s history.